Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman

Staff Pick

In two previous books, Lose Your Mother and Scenes of Subjection, Saidiya Hartman pioneered “critical fabulation,” an approach combining archival research, critical theory, and fictional narrative to explore the afterlife of slavery and the effects of racism and exile on African-American identity. In her new book, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (W.W. Norton, $28.95), she uses a similar methodology to examine a generation of young Black women who rebelled against traditional social and cultural constraints. Focusing on the urban experience of Black women in the early twentieth century, Hartman, a Guggenheim Fellow and professor at Columbia, uses history and literary imagination to trace the lives of women who rejected both degrading conditions of work and normative gender roles in personal relationships, showing how these experiments in work, sex, and marriage constituted a radical transformation of Black intimate and social life.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393285673
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 19th, 2019

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